Korea is increasing the number of businesses and entities required to provide better data protection.
Despite a strengthening of privacy protection, skeptics say that the root cause is the current practice in which businesses and organizations require people to submit their resident registration codes and other verifiable data for accessing even the simplest Web applications. Unless this is addressed, customer information protection cannot be achieved, they say.
A slew of privacy infringement cases in 2008 and earlier this year have raised public awareness of the protection of personal information and also the fears of illegal marketing activities, fraud and identity theft.
The Ministry of Public Administration and Security is determined to do something about the problem, and the first step is to expand the list of companies regulated by the privacy protection provisions under the country’s Information and Communications Network Law.
The number of companies affected by the law will expand to 220,000 starting next month, the ministry said, with refineries, real estate brokers, marriage agencies, job information centers, movie theaters and video rental stores among the new additions.
These businesses will be subject to fines or criminal charges when found to have disclosed the personal information of their customers illegally or without consent, ministry officials said.
They will also be required to explain to customers why they need the data they are collecting and how long they will keep the information before disposing of it, which will be mandatory.
Previously, the privacy regulations affected only a limited number of businesses, including telecommunications operators, hotels and major retail chains, and critics have been calling for an expansion of coverage.
The Korea Times has more.